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One week after pleading not guilty to two criminal theft charges, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Brian Weeden returned to work today amid a show of support from the Tribe.

Chairman Weeden, 30, had been on paid leave since early December 2022, when he was identified as a suspect in the theft of cultural items from the Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth, Mass. He was charged with breaking and entering and felony larceny of more than $1,200, according to Plymouth District Court.

Weeden pleaded not guilty to the charges in Plymouth District Court on Jan. 5. 

At a tribal council meeting last night—the final day of Weeden’s paid leave—tribal council members discussed the situation with their chairman, according to the tribal spokesperson, Steven Peters.  

In a statement provided to Native News Online, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council said the following regarding Weeden’s return from the leave: “Brian Weeden was elected Chairman in 2021 and has served his people in that capacity continuously since his election. Chairman Weeden has worked effectively for his people securing land in trust, a record amount of grant funding, and strengthening our cultural ties and economic development for future generations. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe stands united with our Chairman and Tribal Council.”

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On Dec. 15, the council wrote in a statement that they regard the charges against Weeden as “a personal matter to be resolved by the courts.”

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Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Senior Reporter
Jenna Kunze is a staff reporter covering Indian health, the environment and breaking news for Native News Online. She is also the lead reporter on stories related to Indian boarding schools and repatriation. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Tribal Business News, Smithsonian Magazine, Elle and Anchorage Daily News. Kunze is based in New York.